Bartoli backs Murray-Mauresmo link

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Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli hopes the “admirable” Andy Murray will prove to be a tennis trail-blazer working alongside Amelie Mauresmo.

Murray shocked the sport in June when he appointed Mauresmo as his new coach, but the partnership has shown signs of clicking into gear in recent weeks with the former Wimbledon and US Open champion winning tournaments in China, Austria and Spain to qualify for the end-of-season ATP World Tour finals in London.

French star Mauresmo had an impressive playing pedigree herself, winning two grand slam titles – the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2006 – but plenty of sceptics remain over whether a female coach can succeed in the harsh world of men’s tennis.

“It was a brave step from Andy to take that step forward to hire the first woman coach in the men’s game – it is something really admirable,” Bartoli said.

“It’s all about the knowledge as women’s tennis is completely different to the men’s game.

“So if I took on the job tomorrow I would have to do a lot of research and work more and more on knowing the men’s game.

“It’s a far higher profile, coaching in men’s tennis, but I don’t think there’s any reason why women can’t do the job as long as they have that knowledge.”

Bartoli says more of the world’s top men players could hire female coaches but believes they will err on the side of caution to see how the Murray-Mauresmo alliance works out.

Mauresmo has said there will be “greater expectations” at the majors next year, starting with the Australian Open in January, and Bartoli hopes it is a partnership which thrives.

“I think everyone is in the ‘wait and see’ spirit,” said Bartoli, who retired just 40 days after winning Wimbledon in 2013.

“They’re happy to sit back and see how he’s doing after taking the decision, but it’s always great to have an example.

“Some guys are maybe thinking of doing it and perhaps the relationship between Andy and Amelie will help others to take that step.

“Sometimes it’s difficult for women, being able to travel 35 weeks of the year and coach if you have a family, and in general there are more male than female coaches.

“But hopefully Amelie will show it can be done.”

Bartoli has put her own coaching career on hold as she pursues other interests outside tennis, saying she will not consider it for at least 10 years.

But the 30-year-old said she remains excited about the women’s game and believes the 2015 season will provide plenty of intriguing storylines.

“Victoria Azarenka has barely played in 2014 because of injury and people quickly forget she won the Australian Open twice,” Bartoli said at the DohaGOALS 2014 forum in Qatar.

“It will be very interesting how she will play when she comes back at the beginning of next year.

“Also, how is Eugenie Bouchard going to deal with the pressure on her shoulders?

“This year she has been playing free tennis and had nothing to lose, but whether you can do that in the second year is another story.

“Then you see Serena Williams going so strong at 33 years of age. The game just keeps improving.”

Published: Tuesday 4th November 2014 by The News Editor

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